Putting Your Landscape to Work
Are you starting to think about summer projects around your home? If you’re planning any planting or landscaping projects this spring or summer, consider sticking to native plant species. There are countless benefits to using native plants in your landscape—for you, your community, and the native wildlife.
By cultivating native plants, you can help provide wildlife with more of the habitat they need to thrive, like food and or shelter, and ease the burden on naturally occurring habitats that those animals depend on. The exclusive use of native plants in your landscape also helps limit the opportunities that invasive, exotic plant species have to inhabit the environment around your home, which can choke out naturally occurring plant species, and drive away the wildlife that depend on them.With the right diversity of native plants in your urban landscape, you can provide:
- Protective cover for all local wildlife
- Seeds, nuts, and fruits for squirrels
- Seeds, fruits, and insects for birds
- Nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies
- Larval host plants for butterfly caterpillars
- Preventive measures against invasive plants
And, you’re bound to catch some glimpses of those happy woodland creatures enjoying the healthy ecosystem you’re helping to create. And who wouldn’t love that?
Native plants generally grow well and require less care when grown on proper soils under the right environmental conditions. By choosing the right native plants, you can greatly reduce your dependency on watering, and reduce or eliminate your use of pesticides. And that’s better for you, your children, your pets, and of course, local wildlife.
As more people in our communities use native plants in their landscaping, it adds to the total expanse of available habitat for wildlife, and it benefits the community as a whole. Helping native plants remain prosperous helps to preserve the natural balance of our regional ecosystem, and helps to save our natural heritage for future generations.
There are lots of great resources for helping you learn about the plant species native to your area, and deciding which to plant in your yard. Oregon State University hosts a wonderfully informational webpage on Native Plant Gardening, including tips on using native plants in landscape settings, native plant fact sheets, and a list of recommended native plants for Western Oregon. For another great repository of native plants, as well as a directory of native plant nurseries anywhere in the US—searchable by region—visit plantnative.org. And, of course, you can always just stop by your local nursery and talk to a professional about plant choices and landscape design.